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Upakkilesa Sutta

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The Discourse on Defilements (imperfections)


Once the venerable Anuruddha lived in the Eastern Bamboo Park together with his cousin Nandiya (Th 25) and the Sakyan noble Kimbila (Th 118; AN 5:201, 6:40, 7:56; SN 54:10). These three monks were so mature in the practice of the teaching that each of them could live alone for himself, devoted to his spiritual practice. Only every fifth night would they meet to discuss the Dhamma, undisturbed by things or people. The harmony existing between these three forest hermits has become legendary and stands in sharp contrast with the quarrelsome monks of Kosambi.

When the Buddha visited the three monks, he asked Anuruddha how it was that he lived in peace and harmony with his two companions. Anuruddha replied: “In deeds, words and thoughts I maintain loving kindness towards these venerable ones, in public and in private, thinking: ’Why should I not set aside what I am minded to do and do only what they are minded to do?’ And I act accordingly. We are different in body, venerable sir, but only one in mind.”

After the Buddha had inquired about their life in concord, he asked Anuruddha whether they had gained any spiritual attainment transcending average human capacity. Then Anuruddha told of a difficulty they had experienced in a very sublime meditation they had practised. They had perceived an inner light and radiance [3] and had a vision of sublime forms. [4] But that light and vision of forms disappeared very soon, and they could not understand the reason.

The Buddha explained that one who wanted to experience these subtle states of mind in full and have a steady perception of them should free himself from eleven imperfections (upakkilesa).

The first is uncertainty about the reality of these phenomena and the significance of the inner light, which might easily be taken for a sensory illusion.

The second imperfection is inattention: one no longer directs one’s full attention to the inner light, but regards it as something unremarkable or inessential, and thus dismisses it as unimportant.

The third imperfection is lethargy and drowsiness.

The fourth, anxiety and fright, which occurs when threatening images or thoughts arise from the subconscious regions of the mind.

(The fifth) [5] When these imperfections have been mastered, elation may arise, which excites body and mind. Such exultation is often a habitual reaction to any kind of success.

(The sixth) When that elation has exhausted itself, one may feel drained of that happy emotion and fall into inertia, a heavy passivity of mind.

(The seventh) To overcome it, one makes a very strong effort, which may result in an excess of energy.

(The eighth) On becoming aware of this excess, one relaxes and, in a repeated alternation of extremes, falls again into sluggish energy.

(The ninth) In such a condition, when mindfulness is weak, strong longing may arise for desirable objects of the celestial or the human world, according to the focusing of the inner light which had been widened in its range.

(The tenth) This longing will reach out to a great variety of objects and thus lead to another imperfection, a large diversity of perceptions, be it on the celestial or the human plane. Having become dissatisfied with that great diversity of forms, one chooses to contemplate one of them, be it of a desirable or undesirable nature.

(The eleventh) Concentrating intensely on the chosen object will lead to the eleventh imperfection, the excessive meditating on these forms.

Addressing Anuruddha and his two companions, the Buddha thus described vividly, from his own experience, the eleven imperfections that may arise in the meditative perception of pure forms, and he explained how to overcome them (MN 128).

see also: Anuruddha-upakkilesa sutta








I heard thus.

At one time the Blessed One lived in Gosita’s monastery in Kosambi. At that time the bhikkhus of Kosambi had aroused a quarrel, and were quarreling and disputing using rough words to each other. Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One, worshipped the Blessed One and standing said thus. ‘Venerable sir, the bhikkhus of Kosambi have aroused a quarrel, and are quarreling and disputing using rough words to each other. Good if the Blessed One approaches those bhikkhus out of compassion.’ The Blessed One accepted in silence, approached those bhikkhus and said. ‘Bhikkhus, give up quarreling, using rough words and have no disputes.’

When said thus, a certain bhikkhu said to the Blessed One. ‘Venerable sir, the lord of the Teaching, be unconcerned, keep away! May the Blessed One abide in pleasantness here and now! It’s we that will be known in this quarrel, dispute and using rough words.’

.For the second time the Blessed One said‘Bhikkhus, give up quarreling, using rough words and have no disputes.’

When this was said for the second time that bhikkhu said to the Blessed One. ‘Venerable sir, the lord of the Teaching, be unconcerned, keep away! May the Blessed One abide in pleasantness here and now! It’s we that will be known in this quarrel, dispute and using rough words.’

For the third time the Blessed One said‘Bhikkhus, give up quarreling, using rough words and have no disputes.’

When this was said for the third time that bhikkhu said to the Blessed One. ‘Venerable sir, the lord of the Teaching, be unconcerned, keep away! May the Blessed One abide in pleasantness here and now! It’s we that will be known in this quarrel, dispute and using rough words.’

Then the Blessed One putting on robes in the morning, taking bowl and robes, went the alms round in Kosambi. Gone the alms round and when the meal was over, arranged the dwelling and taking bowl and robes, while standing said these verses

       "The foolish do not consider the general opinion, The fact, there will be nothing, when the Community is split..  ::Forgetful of the main aim and carried beyond They do not listen to the words of the wise. I’m scolded, beaten, ::defeated and carried away, The hatred of those that bear such grudges are never appeased. I’m scolded, beaten, ::defeated and carried away, The hatred of those that do not bear such grudges are appeased. In this world hatred never ::ceases with hatred With non hatred it ceases, this is the ancient lore. Some do not know that we have to go from this ::world. They that know it, appease their misapprehensions Those that cut limbs, destroy life, carry away horses, cattle ::and wealth And even ruin the country, they too turn round Why shouldn’t it happen to you? If you gain a clever ::friend, a wise co-associate, Overcoming all troubles, live with him mindfully. If you do not gain a clever, wise ::co-associate, Like the king that leaves behind his ruler ship and country Go alone like an elephant to the Maatanga ::remote. Living alone is superb, there should be no association with fools Living alone, unconcerned no evil’s done.  ::Like the elephant living in the Maatanga remote" 

The Blessed One while standing said these verses, and approached the village Baalakalonakaara. At that time venerable Bhagu livedin that village. Seeing the Blessed One approaching in the distance, venerable bhagu prepared a seat and placed water to wash the feet. The Blessed One sat on the prepared seat and washed his feet. Venerable Bhagu too worshiped the Blessed One and sat on a side. Then the Blessed One said, ‘Bhikkhu, are you alright, do you have any fatigue owing to want of morsel food?’‘Venerable sir, I’m alright, I have no fatigue owing to lack of morsel food’ Then the Blessed One advised, instructed and made the heart of venerable Bhagu light with a talk on the Teaching and getting up from the seat approached the eastern royal park.

At that time venerables Anuruddha, Nandiya and Kimbilawere abiding in the royal eastern park.The grove keeper saw the Blessed One coming in the distance and said. ‘Recluse, do not enter this forest. There are three sons of clansmen abiding here seeking their own good, do not inconvenience them.’ Venerable Anuruddha heard this conversation between the grove keeper and the Blessed One and told the grove keeper. ‘Do not obstruct the Blessed One, it is our Teacher, the Blessed One’. Venerable Anuruddha addressed venerables Nandiya and Kimbila. ‘Come! Venerable ones, our Teacher has arrived.’ Then Venerables Anuruddha, Nandiya, and Kimbila approached the Blessed One, accepted bowl and robes from the Blessed One. One prepared a seat and another administered water to wash the feet. The Blessed One sat on the prepared seat and washed his feet. Those venerable ones worshiped the Blessed One and sat on a side.

The Blessed One addressed venerable Anuruddha: ‘Anuruddha, are you alright, do you have any fatigue owing to want of morsel food?’‘Venerable sir, we are alright, we have no fatigue owing to lack of morsel food’. ‘Anuruddha, are you united and friendly without a dispute, like milk and water and do you abide seeing each other with friendly eyes?’ ‘Venerable sir, we are united like milk and water, friendly, without a dispute and abide seeing each other with friendly eyes.’ ‘Anuruddha, how do you abide united like milk and water, friendly, without a dispute seeing each other with friendly eyes?’ ‘Venerable sir, this thought occurs to me It is gain for me that I live with such co-associates in the holy life. So I abide with bodily actions of loving kindness towards these venerable ones openly and secretly. With verbal actions of loving kindness towards these venerable ones openly and secretly. With mental actions of loving kindness towards these venerable ones openly and secretly Sometimes it occurs to me what ifI discard my thoughts and concede to the thoughts of these venerable ones. So I discard my thoughts and concede to the thoughts of these venerable ones. Venerable sir, we are various in bodies, and one in mind.’

Venerable Nandiyaand venerable Kimbila too said to the Blessed One. ‘Venerable sir, this thought occurs to me. It is gain for me, that I live with such co-associates in the holy life. So I abide, with bodily actions of loving kindness towards these venerable ones openly and secretly. With verbal actions of loving kindness openly and secretly. With mental actions of loving kindness openly and secretly Sometimes it occurs to me, what if I discard my thoughts and concede to the thoughts of these venerable ones. So I discard my thoughts and concede to the thoughts of these venerable ones. Venerable sir, we are various in bodies and single in mind...

Venerable sir, in this manner we abide united like milk and water, friendly, without a dispute, seeing each other with friendly eyes. Good, Anuruddha, do you live diligently for dispelling? Venerable sir, indeed we abide diligently for dispelling. Anuruddha, how do you abide diligently for dispelling? Venerable sir, whoever comes from the village first, after collecting morsel food, prepares the seats administers water for drinking and washing and places the spittoons. Whoever comes last from the village, partakes of what is left over if he desires, if he does not, throws it to a place where nothing grows, or puts it into some water where there is no life. He puts away the seats, and the vessels of water, washes the spittoons and sweeps the refectory, Whoever sees the water vessels for drinking, washing or toilets empty,fills them up. If he finds it not in his capacity to carry it, would call another with the wave of the hand. Would not utter a word on account of it. On every fifth day we would sit throughout the night discussing a topic on the Teaching. Venerable sir, thus we abide diligently for dispelling. Good, Anuruddha, you abide diligently for dispelling Have you attained some distinctive knowledge,a pleasant abiding above human?

Venerable sir, when abiding diligent to dispel we perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time and we did not understand that sign’

Anuruddha, that sign should be understood. Earlier when I was a seeker of enlightenment, I too perceived effulgence and beautiful forms, and they disappeared in no time. Then it occurred to me.

Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that doubts arose to me. On account of doubts my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts do not arise again. When abiding diligent to dispel I perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time, Then it occurred to me.

Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that non attention arose to me. On account of not attending my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts and non attention do not arise again. When abiding diligent to dispel I perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time. Then it occurred to me.

Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that sloth and tor por arose to me. On account of sloth and tor por my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts, non attention and sloth and tor por do not arise again. When abiding diligent to dispel I perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time Then it occurred to me.

Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that fear arose to me. On account of fear my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. Like a man come on the highway followed by murderers on both sides, has arisen fear on both sides. In the same manner fear arose to me. On account of fear my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts, non attention, sloth and tor por and fear do not arise again. When abiding diligent to dispel I perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time Then it occurred to me.

Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that jubilation arose to me. On account of jubilation my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. Like a man in search of one treasure was to come to five treasures at one and the same time. In the same manner jubilation arose to me. On account of jubilation my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts, non attention, sloth and tor por, fear and jubilation do not arise again. When abiding diligent to dispel I perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time Then it occurred to me.

Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that wickedness has arisen to me. On account of wickedness my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts, non attention, sloth and tor por, fear, jubilation and wickedness do not arise again. When abiding diligent to dispel I perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time Then it occurred to me.

Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that too much aroused effort had arisen to me. On account of too much effort my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. Like a man who holds a hand cart firmly with bothhands, would die with it. In the same manner Anuruddha, too much aroused effort had arisen to me. On account of too much effort my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts, non attention, sloth and tor por, fear, jubilation, wickedness and too much effort do not arise again. When abiding diligent to dispel I perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time.Then it occurred to me.

Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that I had aroused little effort. On account of too little effort my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. Like a man who holds a hand cart loosely and gives up the hold. In the same manner Anuruddha, too little effort had arisen to me. On account of too little effort my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts, non attention, sloth and tor por, fear, jubilation, wickedness too much effort nor too little effort do not arise again. When abiding diligent to dispel I perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time.

Then it occurred to me. Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that I had too much striving. On account of too much striving my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts, non attention, sloth and tor por, fear, jubilation, wickedness too much effort, too little effort and too much striving do not arise again. When abiding diligent to dispel I perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time.Then it occurred to me.

Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that various perceptions had arisen to me. On account of various perceptions my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts, non attention, sloth and tor por, fear, jubilation, wickedness too much effort, too little effort, too much striving and various perceptions do not arise again.

When abiding diligent to dispel I perceived effulgence and beautiful forms. The effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared in no time Then it occurred to me. Why did my effulgence and beautiful forms disappear? I knew, that thinking too much about forms it hadhappened. On account of thinking too much about forms my concentration faded. When the concentration faded, the effulgence and beautiful forms disappeared. I attended to it in such a manner, so that doubts, non attention, sloth and tor por, fear, jubilation, wickedness too much effort, too little effort, too much striving, various perceptions and thinking too much about forms do not arise again.

Anuruddha, I knew that doubts is a minor defilement of the mind and dispelled it. Knew that non attention is a minor defilement of the mind and dispelled it. Knew that sloth and tor por is a minor defilement of the mind and dispelled it. Knew that fear is a minor defilement of the mind and dispelled it. Knew that jubilation is a minor defilement of the mind and dispelled it. Knew that wickedness is a minor defilement of the mind and dispelled it.Knew that too much aroused effort is a minor defilement of the mind and dispelled it.Knew that too little effort is a minor defilement of the mind and dispelled it.Knew that various perceptions are minor defilement's of the mind and dispelled them Knew that thinking too much about forms is a minor defilement of the mind and dispelled it

When I was abiding diligent to dispel, throughout the night, throughout the day and throughout the night and day,I perceived limited effulgence and saw limited forms. I perceived limitless effulgence and saw limitless forms It occurred to me. What is the reason, that .throughout the night, throughout the day and throughout the night and day,I perceive limited effulgence and see limited forms. I perceive limitless effulgence and see limitless forms? Anuruddha it occurred to me, when my concentration is limited, my knowledge is limited. With limited knowledge I perceive limited effulgence and see limited forms. When my concentration is limitless, my knowledge is limitless. With limitless knowledge I perceive limitless effulgence's and see limitless forms,throughout the night, throughout the day and throughout the night and day.

Anuruddha, when these minor defilements, such as doubts, non attention, sloth and torpor, fear, jubilation, wickedness, too much aroused effort, too little effort, various perceptions, thinking too much about forms were dispelled, it occurred to me, now these minor defilement's are dispelled and I should develop concentration in a threefold manner. Then I developed concentration with thoughts and discursive thoughts. Developed concentration without thoughts, thinking discursively. Developed concentration without thoughts and without discursive thoughts Developed concentration with joy and without joy. Developed concentration which is equanimity. Then knowledge and vision arose and I knew that my release is unshakable. This is my last birth. There is no more rebirth.

The Blessed One said thus and venerable Anuruddha delighted in the words of the Blessed One.

Source

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